Black Bullet – 03

Black Bullet 3-8

Dawwwwwwww!

  Being human. Fear and Bravery, Loyalty and Betrayal, Knowledge and Ignorance. Just the tip of the feather.

———————————————–

The Ties that Bind

Black Bullet 3-9

The Team Supreme

In the last episode we saw what fear can do to the heart. It’s effects can damn us, those around us, and hurt the most vulnerable. A tearful retreat is the least of it. But the pendulum always swings back, and we can now see the actions necessary to bring the human soul to great heights. But all the while we must learn these things about ourselves and pass it down. The gravity in this swing is our experiences. We always learn. This was nicely underscored in the cold open as Sumire-sensei leads Rentaro to this conclusion.

The Cursed Children know very little of humanity on their own. Who will lead them? In the middle of the episode we see a snap shot of the relationships between the collected Promoters and Initiators. The body language between them tells some stories. I’ll include that shot after the cut. Some are distant, some are close. And so the main story is something we could see in other pairings as well.

A Battle at the Center of the Heart

Black Bullet 3-5

LOLi dragons can naked skydive. Enju has more class than that…

I really have to admire Enju. She just doesn’t give up.  I can only wonder at how much hope she carried on that torturous journey back to the school that cast her out, and how much she invested in her friendships. While it is true that she has a child’s very pure hope, it is equally true she must carry a weight that would break most adults.

It was something that was demonstrated last episode, it’s how fear drove people to heinous acts. Here, the necessity of destroying the target Gastrea is more that just doing the job, or getting the paycheck. Here it is about proving that, despite the fact that people think she is responsible for causing them harm, she is up to the task of defending them from harm. And she took the beast down with complete efficiency, that one thing on her mind from start to end.

Who Will Lead Who?

Black Bullet 3-2

 “You do know you’re competing with a HanaKana character, right? She plays basketball”

Oh man, these two. You can call them foster father and daughter, or big brother and little sister, and you can even call them something more. But they are friends and family no matter what. Both of them are willing to fight to the death for each other; Rentaro being the sort of guy that has to surpass even that. He is willing to die to see that she is able to live on. It’s something that even Kayo Senju (Megumi Han, Happiness Charge Precure’s Hime, Little Witch Acedemia’s Akko) sees and envies. She has killed, and not just Gastrea, and under orders from her Promoter.

And in this we travel a bit further into Kayo’s relationship with Shougen as she reveals the depths of his savage nature, and how that might be something that Kayo has to deal with in herself. She is genuinely terrified at what she has become and how much further she can do down.  As an aside here, there was a reaction shot in the manga that Kinema Citrus choooose not to animate; when Rentaro questions Kayo about her perception about his and Enju’s relationship. I’ve included it in the Extra Clip cut below.

Now, this Kagatane. How much of a cat and mouse game is he playing with Rentaro? For someone so OP, doesn’t he realize you make a head shot when you go for the kill? But then, he only said “Goodnight” and not goodbye. Protege training of the most brutal? And jeez Kohina, go for the arms or legs, not the torso. You got fanbois and girls waiting!

Advanced Bug Hunting

Black Bullet 3-11

“We think it all started with a hermit crab, sir.”

In addition to the drama, we get some world building which might hint at what the Inheritance of Seven Stars are all about. We know it’s a catalyst able to summon Stage Five Gastrea, but what does that entail? The Stage Five are basically the biggest, nastiest, most world crushing of all the Gastrea. They are classified from stages one to four, with the fourth being said as the complete form. But Five’s are beyond that scale, able to resist varanium and destroy the protective monoliths. The show doesn’t exactly hand out a timeline, nor go into more detail, but this just provokes so many continuity issues. Why aren’t any more of them around? Why do they have to be summoned? Does the Inheritance tell us more about this oddball life cycle? I could try to come up with an explanation, but I fear this might be some rather messy exposition.

On the plus side, Rentaro is given a rather Large Bag of Chekov’s Toys to play with, along with Chekov’s Drug kit. So they do know some foreshadowing.

Extra Clip

Show ▼

Even thou I named No Game No Life as an early favorite this season, Black Bullet is still the most special. It isn’t firing on all the cylinders, but I still love the hum. As you can tell, I have a tendency to enjoy the human drama more than I do the bells and whistles of the tech and such. I think that if they can tighten up the background, give us a few more details, and stop being a bit derpy about the Gastrea lifecycle the show could excel.

 

Preview

Black Bullet -arm

Oh, what have we here?

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All around nerd that enjoys just about any anime genre. I love history, politics, public policy, the sciences, literature, arts...pretty much anything can make me geeky...except sports. Follow me @theskylion
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45 Responses to “Black Bullet – 03”

  1. BlackBriar says:

    I just love how endearing Rentaro and Enju’s relationship is presented. It’s not an obligation for people to be blood related to have a family-like bond. Even better how each is more than willing to go as far as it takes to protect the other.

    Azazel Kagetane really is taking pleasure in trolling Issei Rentaro. He got what he wanted yet let some loose ends remain untied. Following the body downstream would have been enough closure. What are the odds he’s expecting down in that ruined city? Kohina is one I definitely wouldn’t want to be left alone with. Not only did she stab him on both sides of the torso, she was gutting him by alternating her swords. That child is too young to be that sadistic!!

    The whole summoning aspect make the Gastrea seem like a magical beast than some freak mutated creature. Since there are different classes, I’d have imagined the more powerful ones to be, what… dormant underground. The stage five Gastrea brings thoughts of Pacific Rim.

    • skylion says:

      I was thinking that summoned might have meant revived, as some viruses can lie dormant for quite some time. Then I thought, I’m not going to explain this, that’s the show’s job.

      • BlackBriar says:

        From what I understand, the show is being rushed (It feels that way and I’m an anime only viewer) so there’s no guarantee of getting all required explanations.

        • skylion says:

          I’ve not read the LN’s, but the manga does have the luxury of much larger scope. Yes, the animation is rushing things. Such is life?

  2. Foshizzel says:

    Whoa this damn episode yoooooooo!

    I liked when Enju owned that flying spider but when she cried afterwards I was like noooooooo!! why is everything getting depressing?! At least the masked bro arrived and kicked some ass and wow I am shocked that Rentaro survived being shot and stabbed! What the hell is he made out of?!

    In the end I am happy that Rentaro and Enju are finally a team again <3

    • skylion says:

      Yeah, great moment jumping out of a heli and surfing a giant bug down to kick it’s ass.

      Well, she was sad cause no matter how much she fights, she fears not being accepted.

      • BlackBriar says:

        Enju was so distraught about being an outcast that the thought of a parachute was nothing more than a frivolous trifle. It’s a pity for her though because people refuse to look at things from other perspectives. They refuse to understand anything beyond what they see with their own two eyes.

        • skylion says:

          To me that is the one theme that deserves to be heavily mined. If there is one thing that gives me such distraught is that opinions are made with a dearth of facts, and adhered to with fear underlining it so.

  3. Irenesharda says:

    Alright, after 3 episodes I’m confident in saying that this is my favorite series of the season. I am a big mecha fan, but this series has outdone all of them.:)

    “‘Cause your soul is on fire
    A shot in the dark,
    What did they aim for when they missed your heart?”
    ~ Shot in the Dark by Within Temptation

    Rentaro Satomi is one rather lucky bastard isn’t he? Shot 3 times, stabbed violently twice right in the vital organs, and yet, less than two days later, not a mark remains? Either this new world has the most amazing doctors in the world, or Rentaro is not altogether human. And with that memory and those foreboding statements between him and the doctor, my bet is on the later.

    However, Kagetane knows how to dole out the punishment, however, I have a feeling that he knew exactly what he was doing. He’s not going to be at all surprised that Rentaro is alive an probably knows all about this operation the doctor put him under. This is a guy who has killed several people efficiently every episode. What he did with Rentaro seemed to be more of a test or like he was playing with him.

    “Be brave little one.
    Make a wish for each sad little tear.
    Hold your head up though no one is near
    Someone’s waiting for you.
    Don’t cry little one.
    There’ll be a smile where a frown use to be
    You’ll be part of the love that you see.
    Someone’s waiting for you.
    Always keep a little prayer in your pocket
    and you’re sure to see the light.
    Soon there’ll be joy and happiness
    and your little world will be bright
    Have faith little one
    ‘Til your hopes and your wishes come true.
    You must try to be brave little one.
    Someone’s waiting to love you.”
    ~The Rescuers (1977)

    Now on to little Enju. Of that little loli has successfully buried herself in my heart. I love her so much. ^_^
    I was expecting her to stalwartly ignore her schoolmates the entire time and maintain her pride like I’ve seen in similar characters, but to see her breakdown and fall apart at her classmates and former “friends” rejection was just so heartbreaking. And the way Rentaro came for her and sheltered her and cared for her was so incredibly sweet. I loved it all. The brother/sister dynamic is very well done and I haven’t seen such a caring pair of “siblings” in a long time.

    And the fact that she stuck to Rentaro’s side the entire time, that even in his hospital bed he didn’t notice her shows how used to her presence he is.

    “The hunt is on, and you’re the prey. All I’m saying is… All I’m saying is… Survive! All right?” ~Menace II Society (1993)

    Now, it seems that Princess Lacus-clone is asking everyone to go after Kagetane and Kohina. She obviously has some past with Rantaro, but there doesn’t seem to be any love lost between them. Everyone is trying to get that box back that has the power to summon a Level 5 Gastrea. (If Level 5 Gastrea already occur in nature, what makes this threat so much more dangerous than any other Level 5 that’s out there? If you guys have yet to develop a defense against them, then isn’t that your fault?)

    However, I have a feeling that they are again underestimating Kagetane. This guy has shown himself to be very intelligent and probably genius level. I think all these hunters are just lining up for the slaughter. I am almost absolutely sure Shogen is dead. It’s already been seen that he has little power to take down Kagetane. His partner says he’s all brawn and no brains, so that’s a major count against him. And also there’s the fact that he has little to no conscience, even taking down his own team for competition’s sake. I like Kayo and hope we see more of her. She seems to have an adult persona, but a child’s heart and I like that. However, for the sake of her psyche, I’m hoping her partner bites the dust. 🙁

    And as you’ve said, Rentaro’s been given some interesting toys by his mysterious patron. I wonder when we’ll see him use them?

    An excellent episode and I’m excited to see where this goes. However, here’s some questions I have for you, or should I say, so theories that I have. I’m beginning to wonder, do you think white haired Princess (Yes, I know she has a name, but I refuse to say it) is a Cursed Child herself and just hides it? Could the grandfather/adviser she has, be her promoter? It would explain why she cares about the Cursed Children when everyone else just hates them?

    Also, I know why imagination is running away with me, but remember in episode 1, with Rentaro wondering what happened to his parents? What if…if Kagetane is really Rentaro’s father? I know the names are different and all, but you know, that is very likely an alias anyway. Hmm, it was just something I came up with…LOL 😛

    • skylion says:

      Guys! I got more Ireneshada quotes 🙂 And from The Rescuers…one of my favorite childhood books and films.

      I’m so happy you’ve taken to this series, it’s nice to have someone comment on it that enjoys it as much as I do.

      Let’s just say that Rentarou is reigned in plot armor; no other explanation could cut to the core of it. But despite that he is one tough son of a gun. It’s almost like he is Kagetane’s light side.

      Oh, I adore Enju so much, my posts are a dead giveaway. And Kayo has become a second favorite already.

      Hmmmm. A Princess/Initiator Tendou/Promoter relationship is something I had not considered. But then, I’m still not unconvinced that her Law is not pure propaganda. Their reliance on the Cursed Children is a mixed blessing, so they might have something bigger in the works to replace them. That is my wild theory.

      Now, Kagetane as Rentarou’s father? I don’t think they would throw that at us. The idea of fostering is strong in this show, so I think they will continue in that theme un-wavering.

  4. Irenesharda says:

    Was anyone other than me looking at that scene after Enju trashed spider and saying to themselves, “Uh guys, I know you’re having a loving moment and all, but ummm….PICK UP THE CASE!!!!”

    But then after they left it on the ground for so long, I knew that Kagetane was going to make his appearance.

    Yet, now that he has it, do you think that Kagetane’s actual plan is really what they think it is? This seems more like a guy who has several plans all going at once, and that maybe all of them are just chasing a red herring? I’m pretty sure all the hunting pairs are walking straight into a trap, but how far does this trap go?

    Also, other than Kagetane and Kohina, do you think there are other members of the evil team that we haven’t met yet? The person that he was talking to on the phone in the first episode seemed to be older and more sophisticated than Kohina. Do you think Kagetane could have some other partners we haven’t seen yet?

    • skylion says:

      Pick up the Case! Yeah, that goes without saying, but thanks for saying it LOL.

      You might be giving Kagetane to much credit at this point; but that doesn’t mean it isn’t an interesting hypothesis. He seems to be a misguided “survival of the fittest” sort, so he could be taking out trash Promoters, seeing if their Initiators survive, and then build from there.

      The one thing that I’ve been thinking of is the timeline of the Initiator Program. Since it’s been ten years since the first outbreak of the Cursed Children, it would take some time to train them for both combat and how to adapt to the corrosion they suffer. But then, it’s anime, and if they say they have kick ass LOLi superhumans, then they bloody well have them right now!

      • Irenesharda says:

        I don’t know, it just feels like he’s the sort of guy who stays two steps ahead. How he had already been at the apartment and took out the cops, even before Rentaro got there, or how he not only had snuck into the meeting with the civil officers, but already knew what would be said and knew what secrets the princess was keeping. He strikes me as very shrewd and intelligent. I can see that being translated into being a good strategist as well.

        I really can’t see him not knowing that the pairs are coming after him and thus having some kind of plan in place. I just don’t know what it is.

        As to how much training they have? Well I’m thinking most of it is supposed to be innate or something. It was said that Enju lived in the outskirts before being paired with Rentaro. So I don’t think that whatever training she went through, it wasn’t long. I’m guessing it’s like Spider-man, after being bitten he just “knows” how to use his powers. He does do a little training to know how to use them to the best of his ability, but most of it is just natural.

        However, if mother’s are just dumping their children in the outskirts, how do they survive from infanthood? The one old man can’t take care of them all.
        Also, how do all of these girls continue to be born? Do pregnant women routinely go out into the wilds past the monoliths just to be attacked? And what happens when all these girls are no longer lolis and become adults? Will any children they have become the same?

        Just some thoughts about this world.

        • skylion says:

          Oh, goodness. You give me so much to chew on, Ireneshada! Keep ’em coming! I love it!

          But, as I said in my conclusion, as of this episode, any worldbuilding is in service to the drama.

          I’ve done tons of worldbuilding in my own fantasy works. One thing I’ve learned: It works so much better when the characters and their stake in the world trumps any exposition. It’s a thing.

        • BlackBriar says:

          I don’t think the Cursed Children have much of a chance of entering adulthood due to their genetic decay if left on their own. Most would already be in the final stages of becoming or have become Gastrea by then. It’s the reason Enju is routinely injected with medicine to slow the process.

          Here’s what’s been on my mind after the info dump of the first episode. On a one sided matter, all Cursed Children are female. The reason for their young ages is already explained since the outbreak began 10 years ago, but why only a specific gender? Do the Gastrea have a unique ability for telling what gender the unborn baby is when it attacks the pregnant mother? Plus there’s no information on what would happen on a similar situation but if the baby was male.

          • Irenesharda says:

            Perhaps…one of the side effects of the Gastrea virus is that it targets the Y chromosome wherever it finds it and destroys it? If that was the case, female fetuses would be unaffected and male fetuses would become female but with Turner Syndrome?

            Also, it would depend on what stage of pregnancy the woman was in too. If it was in the first or even early second trimester than it would perhaps be easier for the virus to make the developing infant a girl rather than a boy?

            Or perhaps it’s as simple as the XX chromosomes have some sort of sex-linked resistance gene to the Gastrea virus that allows girls to survive to full term albeit it changed. Where as boys do not have such protection and thus may be stillborn or miscarriage?

            As for how Rentaro can utilize the virus himself, he wasn’t exposed to that much and he has a much better immune system than a fetus. Also, he was already a full grown child by the time he was exposed, so perhaps the virus worked more as a vaccine in his case?

            • skylion says:

              Comment Saved!

              I was thinking along similar lines. Also, if the virus still needs to be inoculated against, what will happen to the Children when say, puberty hits? That puts a wrinkle in your Princess as Cursed Child idea…

            • BlackBriar says:

              @skylion: No guarantee on that. Let’s assume Seitenshi is a Cursed Child and keeping the fact under wraps. With all the power and influence at her disposal, it wouldn’t be farfetched for her to have high ranking scientists develop a substance that can help her body mold the virus to her benefit and she may be stronger than the average Cursed Child and able to hide the usual signs.

          • skylion says:

            Why would the Gastrea need a unique ability to discover gender? It exists to infect and reproduce, the Cursed Children are probably a side effect of that process. IOW, I doubt the Gastrea in general gives a stack about them.

            And there is information on what happens to male children that are infected. It’s the same thing that happens to adults of either genders. At least that is the implication I am picking up.

            As for why it only affects females? I hear that shows with cute and kick ass LOLi’s are popular…

  5. thorgriim says:

    Some very good reading going on here, we share some similar ideas Irenesharda,like thinking Kagetane could be Rantaro father, Rantaro isn’t quite human, really good food for thought as well.

    Thinking about some of these, I’ve got some of my own which are really just random thoughts, The doctor, she seems to know a lot about these “bug monsters” and “other things”, you think she is using the DNA from the monsters to keep Rantaro alive or help him live?. the power to regen!

    moving on before i go a little crazy with more of these random thoughts, Enju is very adorable and ultra cute, but we all know this. This episode the whole school scene was heartbreaking, again like Ireneshada, i was also expecting her to ignore everything and act normally, but this made me feel bad for her, i would have done the same thing if i was in Rentaro’s shoes. The hospital scene was ultra cute as well.. surprise loli huggles, the cure for everything!

    But aside from the Enju freefall fighting, the stabbing of Rentaro with me cheering for a arm to be lost,and misty T-Virus box. I enjoyed the bit with Rentaro and Kayo, where he helped bandaged her up and what they talked about. Kayo understood him but said she could come up with lots of reasons, but couldn’t bring herself to say them. It had a bigger impact on me then the rest of the episode, maybe cause shes the new flavor atm or cooler because she has a giant gun, or the way her personality is..

    Reguardless..Enju is till my #1loli of the season.. Kayo is #2loli of the season.. soon ill have my army of cursed children!

    • d-LaN says:

      They did not explain it in the anime, but the AGV drug that she give Rentaro is a regenerative drug that is based on the Gastrea virus. It has 20% chances to turn a himan into Gastrea though.

      • Irenesharda says:

        Hey, hey cool it manga reader or you’ll fall into spoiler territory, and then you would give me no choice but to be mad at you. 😛

        But yeah, I suspected something like that, but I was hoping it was more like the mechanization stuff that Kagetane went through. Yet, it explains why he can be a promoter at so young and why he empathizes with the Cursed Children. I want to know more but, I’m sure they will reveal all the secrets on their own time.

        • d-LaN says:

          *LN

          It ain’t spoiler when the drug function was explain immediately after it was given. Just that the anime omitted it.

          Also I think you are confusing stuff since I was referring to the drug Syumire give Rentaro in the hospital, not the flashback scene surgery. Though I will say that are somewhat on the right track.

          • skylion says:

            …that’s not a bad spoiler, per se. But I would like them kept to a minimum roar.

            And, this is my 4700th comment on Metanorn. And it’s on one of my own Original Posts! Woot!

  6. skylion says:

    Kayo understood him but said she could come up with lots of reasons, but couldn’t bring herself to say them

    Oh, yes this. It broke my heart a little as well. Sayo is most defiantly stuck in the middle here. Something tells me the relations go a bit deeper between her and her Promoter, but I guess we wait til the next episode…

    Enju is No. 1 LOLi this season. Sayo is No. 3. Chino from Rabbit Cafe has to be second cause after all the angst, I need a coffee.

    • BlackBriar says:

      I haven’t made a list of favorite lolis this season yet but out of bias, I name Enju as the first. At first, her clinginess kind of put me off though she grew on me later on.

      I need a coffee.

      Caffeine Will KILL YA!!

      • skylion says:

        Actually Shiro and Chino are slugging it out for second place…but both are so soft spoken…

        • BlackBriar says:

          Thanks for helping me sort out the list. Shiro gets second, Chino gets third and until any new lolis show, Eco gets last place.

          • skylion says:

            Poor, Eco. She really isn’t that bad!

            • BlackBriar says:

              Maybe if she stops getting on that high horse of hers, I’ll give her a second opinion.

            • skylion says:

              OMG she is so cast from horrible tropes at this point. It’s nothing that I imagined her character from the manga. I wanted a Kanoe Itou tsundere, but they gave me a Rei/Shana Clone Clone…

  7. d-LaN says:

    Can’t comment much on things here since I ady read the second volume to its completion, so I will just keep my thoughts short. Also I keep spotting cameos of volume 3 characters in the past episodes.

    This episode pacing feels somewhat fast IMO. Its not like they cut out a lot of major stuff, just that it feels like the events are going through pretty fast. And since when Shogen looks this big cause I don’t have the impression of him being that muscular frm the LN art.

    Also liking the creature designs since they reminded me of the enemies frm RE games. The Phase 5 Gastreas even resembles some of the bosses of RE.

    As for the summoning I just assume that its *something* that can attract the attention of the Phase 5. Through what and how I have no idea.

    PS The design for the Gastrea spider in this episode seem to be based on whip scorpion. Though I don’t think they can form webs.

    • skylion says:

      Yeah, I still have not picked up the LN’s, and at this point they are deep in a pile of stuff.

      It is very face paced, I do wish they would spend more time on characters and making the exposition tighter.

    • BlackBriar says:

      Rumor has it among the material that is cut, there’s the development of Rentaro’s superior Kisara Tendou being ignored.

      • skylion says:

        She really is getting a short shift in the anime so far; and it’s just in a few tiny moments. This episode they rather caught up a bit in that her cloying relationship with Rentaou goes into her “come back with your shield or on it” moment.

        As for myself, I’m a fairly guilty of not even mentioning her character in my posts. I’ll do something about that next week.

        • BlackBriar says:

          “come back with your shield or on it” moment.

          Referencing 300, are we?

          It’s not that bad she doesn’t have much of a mention because there isn’t enough focus on her right now. Even if she does have scenes, they’re awfully brief. Blame the animators for cutting out material. I heard it was the same for that pink haired member Sakura in the Game Dev Club (Working Title) for D-Frag!

  8. Highway says:

    This show isn’t really clicking for me. Kagetane doesn’t feel like an actual villain. He feels like a villain of convenience, completely overpowered, knows everything, can do anything, until we’ll get to the *one thing* that Rentarou can do to beat him. It’s predictable and it’s boring. And I get the feeling that we’re just going to have to watch Rentarou almost die a few more times before we get to that point.

    Senju was the best part of this episode, and Rentarou’s attempts to spread the quality of humanity are worthwhile and have found a sympathetic audience. You wonder at what point she will refuse an inhuman order from Ikuma.

    It does feel like the story is just going by Cliff Notes and leaving out all the interesting parts.

    • skylion says:

      It is a very rushed production. I really have to make the time for the LN’s just to see how much real material they have to deal with. As it is, the scanlations for the manga will probably take me to just the next episode.

  9. Di Gi Kazune says:

    Somebody corrected the party wagon… 😛

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